Tanks being deployed far forward is an indication of offensive action; tanks in depth is an indication of defensive action.
Following on from my recent article on the British Breaching Group, I decided to take one of the lists and field it in a game against my friend’s Germans. Paul had just finished up painting his new army in a winter theme so my winter table got a run out. Not so much June ’44 but, maybe December ’44, but it was great to try some different scenery and mix it up a bit.
We were using the expanded mission matrix (available on our menu page) and we rolled up ‘contact’ with myself attacking.
Here is my list
HQ 2 x Shermans
3 x Shermans
2 x AVRE
2 x AVRE
3 x Churchill Crocodiles
Carrier Patrol, Desert Rat
Carrier Patrol, Regular (Used wasp models)
4 x M10C Achilles
Facing me was:
HQ – 2 x Panzer IVs
3 x Panzer IVs
4 x Panzer IVs
5 x Panzergrenadiers with Panzerfaust
5 x Panzergrenadiers with Panzerfaust
2 x 7.5cm Inf guns
4 x Pak40s
2 x Mortars
3 x Stugs
SET-UP AND DEPLOYMENT
Here is the board and deployment.
I deployed all the AVREs, and Crocodiless using the universal carriers to get them a bit closer. I concentrated on the right flank, with the idea of overwhelming it while the Achilles picked of the Panzer IVs as they relocated. Paul deployed 5 Panzer IVs to hold the left flank and ready to push forward, with infantry on both objectives with the infantry guns and the PaK40s in ambush.
I started with a fast push on the right flank, using ‘follow me’ to get the tanks close yet, however, staying out of 4 inches to not get a faust in the face during Paul’s turn! The recce went forward shutting down a lot of ambush areas. I managed to get a cheeky AVRE bombardment off, clipping a pair of teams and killing one (casualties in red markers). 3 Shermans arrived from reserve and raced up to support the AVREs. The Achilles nailed a Panzer IV and then ‘Shooted & Scooted’ mainly out of sight.
Paul ambushed his PAK40s and bailed a pair of AVREs. The Panzer IVs blitzed and moved to support the centre but missed the other AVRE platoon.
At the start of the turn, one of the two bailed AVRE remounted and the unit held, whilst the Sherman HQ arrived and dashed forward to provide some morale to the men. The remounted AVRE and the Crocodiles went forward while the other AVREs closed on the PaK40s. Meanwhile my flank recce moved up the right flank ready to assault the PaK40s next turn, whilst the Achilles dashed onto the hill to provide overwatch.
In the shooting phase the AVREs kills another infantry team while the Crocodiles score a lucky shot on a PaK40 knocking one out. One Crocodile used its flame thrower but missed (6s to hit!). The second AVREs opened fire on two PaK40s with their bombardment but only pin them.
Paul continued to engage the AVREs. However, with FA9 and at long range to the PaK40s they fail to hurt them. The Panzer IVs bailed one of the AVREs which had engaged the PaK40s.
The Typhoons arrive and, with a hail of rockets, bail a Panzer IV whilst the Achilles take another one too. The harassment of the poor infantry continues with another stand being lost to plastic explosive filled dustbins and a PAK40 exploded in a massive crater as the remounted AVREs pounded them.
An assault by the carriers killed a PAK40 and made another break off, whilst the German infantry tried to hold the Shermans’ assault; the faust missed and a single stand is killed. The infantry breaks off.
Paul doesn’t get any reserves, so he dug in on the objective with his HQ while the last stand of the accompanying infantry ran. His remounted Panzer IV failed to hurt the AVREs; even SA8 is respectable vs AT11.
The pinned Pak40s bailed a Sherman.
A couple of stands valiantly approach the AVREs rear but miss with the Panzerfaust. They assault, but miss again, losing a stand to the counter attack before being driven back.
As the song goes it was now all over but the crying. The final turn sees the two remaining German infantry stands get the full attention of three crocodiles, four AVREs and five Shermans! They are wiped out in a literal blaze of glory as the carriers steam roll across another PAK40 in assault.
This wasn’t a very tough army for the Breaching group to face, although Paul suffered from some very dodgy ammo with its tendency to roll bails rather than kills! We were talking after the game and his normal lists will need a lot of upgrade in the world of allied FA9 and 11. Pak40s just don’t cut it any more, you need 88s (or PAK43s).
What I also found was that you can’t bunch up your crocodiles and AVREs. The danger close of the AVRE ends up really limiting you getting your Crocodiles close enough for effect. That said AVREs were fantastic, they cruised around dropping flying dustbins everywhere, perfect for dealing with dug in, gone to ground, cautious infantry that my flamethrowers struggled to hit.
My Typhoon only arrived once, however had I bought it on turn 1 it could have been deadly. AT5 vs TA1 and FP3+ can be devastating, however I always find air underwhelms in my games.
Overall good fun. I now want to try it with eight Achilles….